Fleet News

Thinking CAP

CAP's manufacturer relationships manager Martin Ward scours the globe for the week's insider fleet intelligence

Wednesday

Down to Malaga in a Saab - not a car, but a 2000 turbo-prop aircraft.

We went to drive Subaru's all-new diesel engine fitted into the Legacy Sports Tourer and the Outback - which is a more serious off-roader with more ground clearance and self-levelling suspension.

I wonder whether it is sensible having two models which are virtually identical, yet priced £1,500 apart.

The Legacy does virtually everything the Outback does, with prices starting at £19,995.

It costs about the same as the Skoda Octavia Scout, and that is selling really well with high demand.

We were really there for the engine, as this is Subaru's first diesel engine.

It is a boxer engine with four cylinders horizontally opposed.

It develops 150bhp, offering 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds.

It is smooth, quiet, refined and has class-leading fuel economy.

The gear ratio between fourth and fifth seemed to be wide, so you had to work the engine in fourth for it to be comfortable to go into fifth.

At 60mph in fourth the engine was doing 2,500rpm, and in fifth at the same speed it dropped to 1,700rpm.

It has been a long wait to drive a Subaru diesel - it is no better, or worse, than any other diesel engine being offered by a variety of manufacturers, including those from prestige brands, but it does look good value.

Monday

Down to Faro for the new Audi A4 in right-hand drive - yes, RHD in Portugal.

Audi UK had transported around 20 cars, chartered three aircraft and took over a hotel on the Algarve.

The quality of the event and attention to detail was as good as the car.

The new A4 has improved quality, is much quieter and, with it being 12cm longer than the current car, rear legroom is now acceptable.

We drove all three diesel versions: 2.7-litre, 3.0-litre and the 143bhp 2.0-litre which will be the choice of fleet drivers.

This engine is responsive, has more than enough power, is coupled to a six-speed gearbox and goes from 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds.


We drove the 2.0 TDI fairly hard on a variety of roads and it achieved more than 43mpg, according to the on-board computer.

The only rattle in the car came from a half-eaten tin of mints, which was very annoying, so we had to eat the rest of them.

The very popular and competent A4 just got better.

Friday

Had a meeting with Selwyn Cooper and John Wallace from Volvo's fleet department.

They told me that 2007 had been a year where they had put their house in order and taken decisions to reduce costs to their customers by improving spec, RVs and reducing SMR costs.

This has put most of Volvo's cars into lower price bands, thus becoming available to a wider audience.

The sold order bank in 2008 is already 240% more than the same time last year and they are experiencing around three months delivery time on most models.

They confirmed that the XC60 small SUV will go on sale later this year.

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